Now Fill the Baskets!

First it was the four baskets. Now it’s time to fill those baskets with flowers, in the Flower Basket Quilt Block of the Month, of course. For Basket 1, we have the Zinnia.

Zinnia in Basket 1, Flower Basket Quilt
Zinnia in Basket 1, Flower Basket Quilt

Did you leave the paper backing on your foundation paper pieced Basket 1? If you did, good for you! Then if you will be machine appliqueing the Zinnia motif to the block, you already have a perfect stabilizer in place. Speaking of applique, here’s what you will need:

Machine Applique

What you will need

  • Sewing machine with zigzag
  • New sewing machine needle
  • Paper-backed fusible web like Heat n Bond Lite
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Stabilizer like Stitch-n-Tear, typing paper, paper towel, etc.
  • Thread to match fabrics
  • Fabrics for background and appliques
  • Nice to have – applique pressing sheet
  1. Trace individual appliqué shapes onto paper side of fusible web. If the design is asymmetrical, pieces will have to be reversed before tracing. An easy way to reverse a design is to trace it with a marker that bleeds through to the back side of the paper.
  2. Cut out all shapes, leaving a ¼-inch margin around each piece. Place fusible web shapes paper side up on the wrong side of each appropriate fabric and fuse in place following manufacturer’s instructions. Cut out all pieces and peel off paper backing.
  3. Fold the background square in quarters; crease to aid in appliqué placement. Position pieces, starting with the pieces furthest to the back and working toward those on top. Fuse-baste appliqué pieces in place.  An alternative method of placement is to use an applique pressing sheet. Place the pattern sheet underneath the pressing sheet so that the design can be seen through it. Arrange all the overlapping pieces on top and fuse. Let cool and the entire design can be gently peeled off.
  4. When all pieces are in place, fuse firmly. Position tear-away stabilizer on wrong side behind appliqué pieces. Pin in place if necessary
  5. Using thread to match and a medium satin zigzag setting, stitch around each shape. Either stitch in place for a couple of stitches or backstitch at the beginning of stitching. Threads may be pulled to the back and tied off to secure, if desired. Satin stitches fall just barely off the edge of the appliqué shape into the background. Adjust satin stitches so they “mound” on top by loosening the upper thread tension. This way, no thread from the bobbin will show on top. Ideally, satin stitches should be perpendicular to the edge of the appliqué. Frequent pivoting is required to accomplish this. For pivoting around curves, keep the needle on the outside edge for outer curves (curves away from the center). Keep the needle on the inside for inner curves (curves toward the center). Either stitch in place for a couple of stitches or backstitch at the end of stitching. Remove stabilizer from the back.

If you haven’t tried machine applique, give it a try. Practice first on a sample to get your stitching just the way you’d like. Give it a whirl – it really can be fun!

Happy quilting!